In my previous conversation, we looked at the gospel as the first step of overcoming the hatred we harbor in our hearts for our fathers. They may have hurt us, but we also have issues that need forgiveness. It is through the gospel that we receive this forgiveness; therefore, we give forgiveness to others. The other remedy we have is all about how the gospel shapes our identity. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation the old has gone, behold the new has come.” What does it mean to be a new creation?
There are three things I want us to focus on today as new creations in Christ. A lack of an understanding of this makes you vulnerable to hatred of your father, which will destroy your walk with God.
YOU ARE ACCEPTED
When we accept the call to faith, we become part of the family of God. The psalmist in Psalm 27:10 said, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.” Our earthly fathers may have failed in making us see this kind of love. But our confidence comes in the fact that we have a heavenly Father who accepted us in our failure and insignificance. Consider John 1:12-13 as proof of God’s acceptance of us despite our sins, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” God has accepted you as his child. That is critical. It also means that you are valued and esteemed, where it matters most.
Moreover, He has forgiven all your sin and has filled you with himself [Colossian 2:10]. The basis of this acceptance is not our goodness and ability to make him love us more but grace. Having confidence in God’s approval causes us to have the boldness of heart. So, if you have a difficult father, that does not need to suppress your spirit and kill your joy. To know that God accepts you because of his love is a weapon good enough to combat all the anger in your heart. Receive the truth today that God has accepted you as a new creation.
YOU ARE SECURE
Abusive fathers leave a lot of scars in our hearts. They make us plunge in a sea of anxieties and insecurities. Because of the experiences, some of us tend to default to other ways of feeling covered and shielded. Sex, drugs, and fame have become scapegoats for many. Instead of filling the hole, they leave us emptier and more desperate. When we realize, however, that in God, we are completely safe, our responses to such events will change. Romans 8:26-39 reminds us that God causes all things to work for our good. He guides and guards us so much that nothing can separate us from his love. Not angels, demons, life, or death can separate us from his love. That is exciting news! We are secure. No pains can hinder us from experiencing God’s gift of grace; neither can they prevent us from extending the same kindness to our bad fathers.
Some people wonder how it is possible to forgive fathers who hurt us so badly. But this is the miracle of salvation; by God’s grace working on our hearts, we have supernatural enablement to address matters that are beyond our human capabilities- even forgiving. When I am in a position of security, nothing is too absurd and challenging for me to do. You do not have to default to empty means as a way of dealing with pain and sorrow. Turn to the rock who keeps you safe. He said he would never leave you nor forsake you. [Isaiah 41:10]. Tell yourself that you’re secure in Jesus Christ as a new creation.
YOU ARE SIGNIFICANT
Many times we are left feeling forsaken by our fathers, making us develop a victim’s mentality. When everything seems to be working against us, we tend to consider ourselves as trash, a good for nothing people in a God-forsaken place! Our feelings do not always represent the truth of scripture. Abusive fathers leave us thinking that we have no purpose in life. That is a lie. God created us with/ for a purpose. He has things that he wants us to accomplish. Fathers may say or do things against you that will drive you to the wall. You are not useless. You are not a bother. You are significant in the eyes of our God. Tell yourself that you’re significant in Jesus Christ as a new creation.
Because God views you as significant, you can become a minister of reconciliation, even with your father that has hurt you. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:18, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” Knowing that you have value and you matter will cause you to reach out and make things right with your father and between him and God.
When your father has crushed your heart, it is difficult for you to think that you can be of help to others. But Jesus has changed your heart, dear friend. You no longer need to live under the shadows of your father’s failures. Rise and walk in the finished work of your Saviour. Be the minister of peace that God has called you to be. When you pursue peace with your father you, you make bile in your heart flow like sweet rivers of life-giving water.
That’s how God created you to be; complete security, a real purpose, no need to worry about anything, and a sense of belonging to God and other people. Make this your focus, and you will not need to live in bitterness and bondage. It is for freedom that Christ has set you free! Be free! Amen.